CES was just last month and it gave us yet more incremental updates. As is too often the case with laptops. Over the last few years, one of the incremental updates that has been a trend is decremental in nature.
I am talking about the lessening of ports and bezels around the screen. While I like thin bezels because that means I can have a larger screen in a smaller form factor, I am not a fan of the disappearing ports. We are not wireless yet and the inconvenience is greater than the promise of the future.
We carry heavy computing power in smaller bags, and interaction with these computers is no longer limited to a mouse and keyboard. There is touch interaction as well as gesture interaction on top of traditional methods.
However, decreasing ports create limitations when it comes to plugging things into a laptop. Things that we need every day like an external hard drive, or perhaps an Ethernet cable, all need a port. The ease of ports is what made these devices possible, and now the death of ports will eventually fade them out.
The death of ports happens every time there is a new connector in the market. Each new generation of computers come with newer ports. While some of the things we attach to our computer evolve too, legacy gadgets like a VCR most certainly do not have a USB C port.
This change often renders our old cables and devices useless. Let's look at an example in detail:
Device: VCR player
So, how do you connect a VCR to your laptop and why would you want to?
First, if we are to address why you would want to connect a VCR to a laptop, it can be to transfer old videos! Video cameras have been around for a long time and they no longer use VHS tapes for storage. So you need a way to save all the videos that are on your old tapes.
Circling back to the original question, the answer is USB adapter. They are just dongles before we started calling them dongles. The idea is that no matter what port a laptop doesn't have, it is sure to have a USB port. Therefore, you can connect all kinds of computer cables to it.
Essential things to look out for in an adapter are:
- What you need to connect to your computer. This is basically the reason you are getting a USB adapter.
- Knowing the correct version of all computer cables and ports you need. The cable on the device, the port on your computer, etc. This determines the speed and efficiency of data transfer between them.
- The physical design of the adapter. You need to check the size and shape of the adapter so that when you plug it into your laptop, it fits well next to other ports and the devices that use those ports. Apart from that, the design should be such that it doesn't snap off the laptop easily, nor should it dangle too far out from the laptop so that the cable doesn't experience too much wear and tear.
Often overlooked in a conversation about computer cables, a USB adapter is a hidden hero behind many workflows. The plug and play functionality makes it simple to use for situations where there is no power connection available.
These adapters are also available in most stores that have computer accessories and peripherals. Depending on your needs, some stores, both online and offline, offer them in bulk quantity as well. This is highly useful when you need them in an office.